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Legislative Update from Senator Brian Jones

By Christina Asai, 5:11 pm on December 1, 2020

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – Week of November 23, 2020

  • Virtual Holiday Open House
    • Senator Jones will once again be hosting his annual holiday open house on Wednesday, December 9 from 5pm to 8pm – this year, it’s virtual!
    • Constituents will have the opportunity to meet with the Senator virtually, and have an opportunity to speak with staff regarding any legislative ideas or for assistance with state agencies.
    • To RSVP, please email [email protected] with your name, email address, and the number of people who will be attending with you.  Time-slots will be sent via email before the event.
    • If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Andrews via email at [email protected] or call our office at 619-596-3136.
  • State Senate End of Session
    • The legislative session adjourned for the year on August 31st.
    • New members of the legislature are sworn in on December 7, and the new legislative session resumes on January 4, 2021.
  • Senator Jones’ Bills Signed by the Governor
    • September 30th was the deadline for the Governor to sign or veto all of the bills that the Legislature sent to him this year.
    • Five of Senator Jones’ bills have been signed into law!  In total, during the two-year legislative session, twelve of Senator Jones’ bills have become laws
    • Senator Jones’ goal has always been to fix problems for the people he represents.  The five bills that were signed into law this year are:
    • SB 723 clarifies the law to guarantee due process rights for an individual choosing to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms.
      • SB 723 clarifies that an individual for whom a warrant has been issued is only guilty of firearms possession charges if the individual has knowledge of the warrant.  It’s an issue of simple fairness.
      • In another example of the majority party’s overreach, this due process violation was slipped into law through the budget process without ever having a policy hearing.
      • Once they realized their clear due process violation, they attempted to fix the law by adding a knowledge requirement – again through a back-room process without a policy hearing.
      • The result was a hidden fix that no one knew about.
      • SB 723 fixes this mess by making it clear and evident that knowledge of a warrant is required, thus protecting legal gun owners.
      • SB 723 goes into effect January 1, 2021
    • SB 878 requires all boards and bureaus within the Department of Consumer Affairs to prominently display on their websites the current average time-frame for processing initial and renewal license applications.
      • The goal of this bill is to give licensees some clarity regarding potential wait times and to hold the bureaucracy accountable.
      • Senator Jones has said “I appreciate the Governor recognizing that this measure is greatly needed to help Californians awaiting their professional license approval from the state.  After working hard to get an education, pass their exams and submitting a mountain of paperwork, a license applicant should not have to sit in limbo wondering how many months it will be until they can start their career.  Having to publicly post their application approval timelines will let state licensing agencies, bureaus, and commissions know that their performance is being monitored by the Legislature, the media, and the public.  This should help smooth out the application approval process and decrease wait times.”
      • SB 878 will go into effect on July 1, 2021 in order to give DCA time to implement the necessary technology.
    • SB 1003 helps local governments create recreational opportunities for their citizens by allowing more wheeled-devices to operate at local skate parks other than skateboards‚ such as wheelchairs and scooters. This bill was the product of a years-long partnership between myself and the local leaders who wanted to create more public recreation spaces for our residents.
      • In 2015, then-Assemblyman Jones passed a bill to extend a local government’s liability exemption for skateparks to include recreating with devices other than skateboards.
      • This made it so that local communities could decide to open up their parks to activities like extreme bicycling, scootering, or wheel chairing, thus taking these activities off the city streets and putting them in a safe park designed specifically for that purpose.
      • That bill, AB 1146 (Jones – 2015), proved to be a successful program, but it sunsetted this year.
      • SB 1003 extends this local government immunity for local skate parks to include all wheeled, non-motorized recreational devices such as bicycles, scooters, and wheelchairs, along with skateboards, indefinitely.
      • Senator Jones has said “SB 1003 grants much-needed immunity from liability for communities that operate skate parks.  Local skateboarders and sports riders get a safer place than the streets to carve, do McTwists, or ollies, and taxpayers are not going to be liable for the occasional mishap that is inherent to all active sports.”
      • SB 1003 was sponsored by the County of San Diego, and as an urgency measure, it went into effect immediately.
    • SB 1126 ensures justice and public safety – while also saving court resources – by adding a limited exception to when sealed competency records for youth can be accessed by the Court if the youth’s competency is again under question. The bill was sponsored by the California Judges Association and had the support of Peace Officers‚ District Attorneys‚ Public Defenders‚ and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
      • Files are sealed to protect the juvenile. However, not allowing a file to be referenced for the juvenile’s own sake at a future competency review could be detrimental to the juvenile.
      • Allowing these files to be referenced will also save court resources.
      • SB 1126 will go into effect on January 1, 2021.
    • SB 1148 allows a more fair market for publishing foreclosure notices‚ thus lowering the cost for someone to buy themselves out of foreclosure and remain in their home.
  • Current law requires a notice of a foreclosure to be published in a newspaper and prescribes that it be published in a newspaper in the same city of the property, if one exists.
  • If there is no city paper, current law then allows a paper in the area to be used.
  • This requirement has resulted in extremely inadequate publishing fees given the quasi-monopoly created by some small city papers.
  • When someone is trying to buy themselves out of foreclosure, they have to pay all associated fees of the process – including this publication fee – ON TOP OF the money they still owe to the bank.
  • By simply removing the requirement for the notice to be in a newspaper in the same city as the property, the cost of buying yourself out of foreclosure is lowered since there is now a chance for competition in the market for publication.
  • Additionally, SB 1148 prescribes how courts should deal with “declarations of nonmonetary status” so that there is consistency on how the filing is treated statewide.
  • SB 1148 will go into effect on January 1, 2021.

 

  • CA Chamber of Commerce “Job-Killer” Bills
    • And some other good news from Sacramento!  Senator Jones helped kill several bills that the CA Chamber of Commerce designated as “job-killer” bills:
      • AB 196, which would have significantly increased workers’ compensation costs for employers by “conclusively” presuming that contraction of COVID-19 by all “essential workers” is a workplace injury.
      • SB 55, which would have added substantial time and cost to the CEQA process and provide project opponents with new legal arguments to delay or block housing and other projects.
      • SB 1399, which would have significantly increased the burden on nonunionized employers in the garment manufacturing industry in CA by eliminating piece rate as a method of payment even though it may benefit the employee and would impose additional requirements upon employers.  These additional requirements would have encouraged companies to contract with manufacturers outside of CA, thereby limiting the demand and workforce of garment manufacturers in CA.
      • Sadly, SB 1383, which would require 12 weeks of protective leave for small, mid-sized, and large employers—in the midst of a pandemic and a recession—with no flexibility, was approved by the governor and signed into law.  Any employer with as few as 5 employees will have to comply with the mandate, or be subject to expensive and burdensome litigation.
  • Assembly Bill 5
    • As the 2020 legislative session came to a close, Senator Jones and other members of the Senate Republican Caucus advocated for the rights of independent contractors and for the preservation of the freelance gig economy in California.
    • The non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office has predicted that the anti-worker law, AB 5, has impacted the livelihoods of one million independent contractors in California.
    • Republican Senators presented nine amendments to AB 2257 including one that would have repealed and replaced AB 5 entirely.
    • Senator Jones also proposed a carveout for tattoo artists with whom the Senator has had multiple conversations about their plight as a result of AB 5.  Other Republican Senators proposed other exemptions to AB 5 as well, demonstrating the full scope of the damage that AB 5 has caused.
    • Senate Democrats rejected and blocked all of these amendments from being discussed during the final day of session.
    • Senator Jones said, “The flexibility and success currently enjoyed by millions of independent contractors in California will be lost forever unless AB 5 is overturned.  Today, Senate Republicans attempted to cut into AB 5 with a series of exemption amendments to a companion measure – AB 2257.  While Senate Democrats and Governor Newsom blocked our amendment efforts, we did lay the groundwork for voters themselves to permanently shelve AB 5 in the November election.”
    • Throughout the 2020 legislative session, Senator Jones attempted to repeal AB 5, as well as seek exemptions for several industries if a full exemption wasn’t possible.  Some of those efforts included:
      • Coauthoring ACA 19 with Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) to repeal and replace AB 5 in its entirety.
      • Coauthoring SB 806 with Senator Shannon Grove (R-Fresno) to repeal and replace AB 5 with a new test that is much more expansive and would have include most existing business arrangements
      • Authoring SB 875, which would have allowed interpreters and translators to continue to serve members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and non-English speaking Californians.
      • Authoring SB 881, which would have exempted musicians and music industry professionals from AB 5.  While SB 881 never passed, musicians were able to be exempted along with other multiple industries when AB 2257 was passed.
      • Unfortunately, all of these bills, as well as other exemptions introduced by other Senate Republican Caucus members were blocked by the Democratic Supermajority.
  • Fighting for your Constitutional Rights During COVID-19
    • Senator Jones wants to end the constraints on your constitutional rights resulting from the government’s COVID-19 response.  On July 30th, both he and Senator Melissa Melendez attempted to bring SCR 93 for a vote on the Senate floor which would have had a significant impact on the Governor’s ability to unilaterally restrict our rights.  You can read more about this effort on Senator Jones’ website (jones.cssrc.us) under the “Newsroom” section.
    • Both Senator Jones and Senator Melendez attempted to bring SCR 93 for a vote on the Senate floor once more on August 13th, but that motion was denied.
  • Senator Jones’ Recovery From COVID-19 (if asked):
    • Thank you to all of those who passed well wishes to Senator Jones after having tested positive for COVID-19 in Sacramento for the last week of session.
    • Though feeling fine, the Senator immediately entered quarantine where over the course of the isolation he experienced mild symptoms.
    • His quarantine ended on September 5th.
    • In addition, to help others, the Senator donated convalescent plasma on Monday, October 5th.
  • 2020 Ballot Propositions (if asked)
    • Proposition 14  – $5.5 Billion Bond for Stem Cell Research
      • Proposition 14 has passed with 51% of voters voting in favor of the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed and had concerns about continuing state funding and the controversy over potential mismanagement of past funds
    • Prop 15 – The so-called “Split Roll” Tax Measure
      • Proposition 15 did not pass with 52% of voters voting in opposition to the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed and had concerns about the unfairness of raising taxes on small businesses, particularly during a time when the state’s economy is doing poorly and we are facing unprecedented job losses amid business shutdowns.
      • Senator Jones was also concerned that this proposition will undermine the letter and spirit of Proposition 13’s prohibition on drastic property tax hikes.
    • Prop 16 – Enacting Affirmative Action in California
      • Proposition 16 did not pass with 57.1% of voters voting against the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed and he voted against the legislative measure – Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 – that put this proposition on the ballot.
      • Senator Jones does not want to remove the following from the State Constitution, as Prop 16 would do:
        • “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group, on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
    • Prop 17 – Allows Parolees the Right to Vote
      • Proposition 17 has passed with 58.6% of voters voting in favor of the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed and he voted against the legislative measure – Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6 – that put this proposition on the ballot.
      • Senator Jones believes that after a parolee has actually completed the terms of their parole – the point at which their other rights are also restored – is when they should be allowed to vote.
    • Prop 18 – Allows 17 year-olds the right to vote in Primary or Special Elections
      • Proposition 18 did not pass with 56% of voters voting against the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed and he voted against the legislative measure – Assembly Concurrent Amendment 4 – that put this proposition on the ballot.
      • Senator Jones believes we have a long history of requiring that persons be 18 years of age or older to vote and he sees no reason to change it.
    • Prop 19 – Changes Tax Transfer Laws for Inherited Properties and Disaster-damaged Properties
      • Proposition 19 has passed with 51.1% of voters voting in favor of the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed and he voted against the legislative measure – Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11 – that put this proposition on the ballot.
      • Senator Jones believes this measure was rushed onto the ballot without a thorough review of all the costs and benefits.
      • Senator Jones supports lowering taxes on properties that are damaged in a disaster.
    • Prop 20 – Increases Crime Penalties and Expands DNA Collection from Criminals
      • Proposition 20 did not pass with 61.8% of voters voting against the measure
      • Senator Jones supported this clean-up of AB 109, Prop 47 & Prop 57 which all drastically reduced penalties for a number of violent and non-violent crimes and, predictably, lead to increases in certain types of crimes.
      • Senator Jones believes that DNA collection from criminals in custody should be increased to help resolve recent and cold-case crimes.
    • Prop 21 – Rent Control
      • Proposition 21 did not pass with 59.8% of voters voting against the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed and believes rent control will decrease the availability of affordable housing and will increase the costs to build new housing.
    • Prop 22 – Exempts App-based Drivers from AB 5
      • Proposition 22 has passed with 58.6% of voters voting in favor of the measure
      • Senator Jones supported this exemption from AB 5 for ride-share drivers (such as those working for Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Instacart, etc.) so they can continue working as independent contractors.
      • Senator Jones believes that AB 5 ought to be completely repealed and all industries that currently operate as independent contractors should be allowed to continue that freedom and flexibility
    • Prop 23 – Dialysis Clinic Regulations
      • Proposition 23 did not pass with 63.6% of voters voting against the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed and believes the voters have already spoken on this issue by rejecting a similar proposition recently.
      • Senator Jones also believes that dialysis facilities in California are rightly renowned as the safest in the world.
    • Prop 24 – Consumer Data Privacy
      • Proposition 24 has passed with 56.1% of voters voting in favor of the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed to this complicated, complex and un-vetted measure.
      • Senator Jones believes creating a large new state bureaucracy, giving them power to impose penalties, and removing the ability for companies to cure any violations, is unwise and the last thing we should be doing in this economic environment.

 

    • Prop 25 – Elimination of the Cash-bail System
      • Proposition 25 did not pass with 56.3% of voters voting against the measure
      • Senator Jones was opposed to eliminating the system allowing the judge to require that persons arrested for serious crimes post bail to guarantee they return to court for trial.
      • Senator Jones believes that the alternative to bail outlined in this proposition will compromise public safety and undermine the justice system.
  • State Budget (if asked):
    • The Legislative Democrats passed a $202 billion budget plan which was signed by the Governor on June 29.
    • With more than 5 million unemployed Californians, this overall budget package, which the Senator opposed, continues to harm job opportunities — by adding new mandates that will hurt small businesses, and $4.4 billion in new taxes.
    • There is also a tremendous amount of accounting trickery, deferred payments, and the prayer for another bailout from the federal government, even after the Trump administration has already given California more than $180 billion, either directly to Californians or through the state – according to Dept. of Finance.
    • This budget is a house of cards.  It is an attempt to shift blame to Congress if it won’t bailout California again.
    • Governor Newsom and the majority Democrats created every one of the problems we are dealing with now—programs ever increasing in their scope and cost and which, pandemic or not, would have turned our budget upside down in a few years.
    • The budget still does not address the state’s long-term, structural budget deficits, which will be in the tens of billions of dollars.
    • Just a few of the specific problems with the Democrats’ budget package include:
      • $22 million for the state to enforce AB 5 (the anti-Independent Contractor law)
      • It adds more than 1,100 new state positions, not counting those needed for immediate priorities like EDD staffing and fire safety.  These new positions will cost more than $230 million ($80 million General Fund).  When we can’t afford our existing programs, why are we making them larger?
      • It provides $25 million for the California Small Business Expansion Fund, yet another bill in the package increases taxes on small businesses by $4.4 billion in 2020-21.  You make $25 million available, but then add on $4.4 billion in new taxes? This budget is overwhelming in its tone deafness.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES & EVENTS:

  • State’s Tiered Reopening Guidelines for Business
    • The state of California has established a four-tier system for reopening businesses.
    • You can learn more at https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.
    • While the Senator has strongly urged the Governor to take a different approach to our state’s reopening plans, the Senator wanted to make sure that you have the current information
  • Senator Jones and the American Red Cross host Blood Drives in San Diego County
    • Blood donations have been running very low due to concerns over COVID-19
    • All safe medical practices and social distancing measures will be observed during the blood drive to collect much-needed blood donations for medical patients
    • The Senator has also worked with the Red Cross to schedule two upcoming blood drives in North County in October.
    • On Monday, October 12, in partnership with the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, we held a blood drive at the Escondido Chamber of Commerce building
    • On Thursday, October 15, in partnership with Valley Center Business Association, we held a blood drive at the Valley Center Community Church
  • COVID-19 Resource Page
    • Senator Jones has set up a page on his website to provide the latest updates from public health officials, utilities, local and state governments.
  • Wildfire PSA:
    • As a PSA: since we are clearly in the midst of fire season, the Senator just wants to make sure everyone is adequately preparing themselves, their families, and their homes for the threat of wildfires. Resources provided by the state and the county will be helpful toward that end:


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